The Slatest

Remaining Oregon Occupiers “Hoping for a Miracle” as FBI Negotiations Continue

A car with anti-government protesters prepare for a rolling vehicle protest by self-proclaimed patriots on January 30, 2016 in Burns, Oregon.

Photo by Matt Mills McKnight/Getty Images

The four armed occupiers of a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon continued to defy the calls by the FBI to surrender, insisting they want assurances that no one will be detained. They also may be waiting for the intervention of a higher power. That’s at least what one of the occupiers told the sheriff from his hometown in Idaho. “I’m hoping for a miracle,” Sean Anderson, 47, told Sheriff Doug Giddings, who called to ask whether there was anything he could do to help resolve the standoff. “I believe God put us here.”

The conversation was broadcast live on YouTube and showed the four remaining occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge sitting on lawn chairs. “If we don’t stand up ‘til the end on this, then why did we come here in the first place?” Anderson said.

The FBI is negotiating with the four remaining occupiers—Anderson, his wife Sandy, Jeff Banta, 46, and David Fry, 27—as supporters staged a small rally on Saturday night. Around 30 vehicles drover around the nearby ranching community of Burns to publicly back the lawbreakers.

Earlier, Ammon Bundy, who led the occupation until he was arrested earlier in the week, once again repeated calls for the occupiers to leave. “This was never meant to be an armed standoff,” Bundy said in the video released through his attorney. “Please do not make this something it was never meant to be. Go home to your families.” His calls for the siege to end is not exactly altruistic. A judge on Friday denied Bundy bail because the occupation was continuing.

Meanwhile, the family of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, the occupier who was killed by police, say the whole thing was coming to an end when he was shot. The family disputes the official account of how the shooting happened. “At this point we will await the outcome of any investigation, but based on the information currently available to us, we do not believe that LaVoy’s shooting death was justified,” the family said in a statement. “We likewise can’t see any justification for the force and risk of serious injury or death that was exerted against the others in the truck, who posed no threat.”